The federal government has announced that it will extend expiring postgraduation work permits (PGWPs) for up to 18 months. Former international students who are eligible for the program will reportedly be contacted with information about how to opt in and apply for the additional 18-month work permit. The decision to extend the program was made to enable former international students to continue working in Canada while the government continues to address the immigration backlogs. Some advocates argue that the PGWP should be made permanently renewable as the same issues could arise in January 2024.
Aurora College will transfer the Scientific Services Office and the office’s employees to the Government of the Northwest Territories at the beginning of April. The move ensures that the Scientists Act and the office’s research licensing work are under the purview of the territorial government once Aurora completes its transformation into an arm’s length polytechnic university. “It is important for the research licensing to be moved to the regulator as is the case in other jurisdictions,” explained Aurora President Dr Glenda Vardy Dell. The transfer was recommended in the foundational review conducted for Aurora.
The Government of Canada and Government of Saskatchewan have announced a $485M investment in strategic agricultural initiative. The investment falls under the new five-year Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a Canada-wide initiative which aims to bolster the competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency of the agricultural sector. As part of this investment, $175M will be devoted to science, research, and innovation efforts, with the aim of strengthening the diversification and profitability of the province’s agriculture. Other priority areas include building sector capacity, growth and competitiveness; climate change and the environment; resiliency and public trust; and market development and trade.
Western University has made a number of changes to address graduate financial stability and wellbeing. Western Provost and VPA Florentine Strzelczyk launched a new Graduate Student Affordability Working Group earlier this year to better understand and support graduate students who face financial difficulties. Based on the group’s findings, Western has expanded its original commitment to provide bursaries for graduate students over the next three years, introduced a new staff position to support incoming graduate students, and tripled the summer staffing for its off-campus housing office. As part of these ongoing efforts, the university also plans to redesign the orientation program and ensure clear financial information is provided to prospective and current graduate students.
The University of Guelph has stated that it believes a lawsuit filed by UoGuelph OVC professor Byram Bridle should be thrown out. UoGuelph asserts that the $3M lawsuit against the university, faculty, and other individuals is “frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of process.” In the university’s statement of defence, it denies the claims made in Bridle’s statement and says that it “does not contain a precise statement of material facts. Rather, it is replete with evidence, and should therefore be struck.”
The University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services celebrated the opening of a new youth mental health care and research facility called The Summit. The $39M mental health facility will offer youth and their families publicly funded mental health services including no-cost therapy sessions, support to prevent or reduce hospitalization, and a paediatric mental health day hospital. “The Summit will incorporate accessible mental health care with leading-edge research, so we can mobilize academic insights into the best possible clinical care for children and youth,” said UCalgary President Ed McCauley.
Many men are foregoing a university education and potentially jeopardizing their future career opportunities, writes former Université de Montréal recteur Robert Lacroix. Drawing on a book that he recently co-authored, Lacroix examines the declining enrolment rates of men in Québec’s universities alongside the increasing enrolments rates of women. The authors investigate the rationales and potential outcomes of men’s dropout rates, arguing that it could set men up for poorly paid jobs and fewer career advancement opportunities in the future. To effectively mitigate this issue, the authors recommend introducing intervention programs in earl childhood.
Northwestern Polytechnic and Capilano University have both announced new programs. NWP will deliver the Rural Sexual Assault Care Expanded Micro-credential, which teaches health professionals working in rural and remote communities how to support survivors of sexual assault. The micro-program contains nine modules that cover the roles of health care professionals in areas such as assessment, intervention, evidence collection, and court testimony. The program is funded by $290K over two years from the Government of Alberta. CapilanoU’s Indigenous Digital Accelerator (IDA) program has launched an Assistant Director training workshop that will prepare Indigenous filmmakers to fill needs in the film industry. The program’s Indigenized curriculum, opportunities for on-set experience, and certifications will prepare participants to enter the Directors Guild of Canada Trainee Assistant Director program.
The terms “academic freedom” and “free speech” are frequently used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing, writes Matt Reed for Inside Higher Ed. Reed argues that academic freedom is about exploring ideas – no matter how unpopular – that are relevant to the job, while free speech is more commonly involved when irrelevant topics creep into classroom discussions. The author asserts that the latter is a more frequent on-the-ground reality and can detract from achieving student learner outcomes. Reed calls for moderation when it comes to covering topics beyond the scope of the course content and asserts that this practice is not an issue of free speech, but rather of job performance.
The Service régional des admissions au collégial de Québec (SRACQ) has received a tidal wave of applications from international students, especially from francophone regions in Africa. SRACQ typically receives around 2,000 admission applications from international students per year, but CBC reports that this year saw over 13,000 come in. SRACQ directeur général Marc Viens pointed to a 2022 provincial announcement as the source of this surge in applications. Viens states that the announcement promised exemptions from tuition fees for international students, but failed to communicate the related quantity. As a result, only a select handful of these cégep applicants will be able to benefit from the exemptions this September.